Describe the gaps and challenges in the services offered to the families and children who have come to the US from Central America. What are services that are given now and what services need to be offered to these families.
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The “gaps and challenges” in the services offered to these families and unaccompanied children are easily identified. The question of what services “need to be offered” is a question of opinion. This makes it much harder to answer the second part of the question.
The major challenge described on this website is that the system for caring for unaccompanied children is much too small for the number of children who have been coming to the US on their own. Central Americans have gotten the idea that children who reach the US unaccompanied will be granted the right to stay in the country legally. This has given them the incentive to send their children alone. Slide 9 on the site you ask about says that there are as many as 10 times more children coming than the US has capacity to deal with. Therefore, there are gaps in the services available. There are not enough Spanish-speaking caseworkers to ensure that the children are processed in a fair and timely manner. There are not enough foster families with whom to place children while they are being processed. There are not enough facilities that are appropriate for children who are unaccompanied. All of these gaps exist and the challenge is to close those gaps even as large numbers of children continue to arrive.
This brings us to the issue of what services “need to be offered.” This is a matter of opinion. If the US needs to care for these children in the long term, many services need to be offered. These are listed above in the discussion of the gaps in the services offered to these children and families. However, there are many people who would say that the US does not need to offer services to these children. You could argue that we do not have a responsibility to keep and to care for people who enter our country illegally. Thus, one could also say that no further services “need to be offered.”
There are many gaps in the services offered to these children because there are too many of them coming to the country right now. Some would argue that we need to provide them with better facilities, more caseworkers who can communicate with them and learn about their individual circumstances, and families with whom to place them in the short-to-medium term. Others, however, would say that we owe them nothing because they are not (or should not be) our responsibility.
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